DMA department purchases test drone

Entry level camera drone cost the department $300.

Lance Clark, Ph.D., tests out the new drone purchased for the DMA department. (Photo provided)
Lance Clark, Ph.D., tests out the new drone purchased for the DMA department. (Photo provided)

After many years of reading about using drones for cinematography, the Digital Media Arts department decided to purchase a drone. The $300 Parot 2 drone will be used to test the use of drones for filming.

“I see the use of drones simply being another camera tool in our toolbox of choices to make that will help tell the story in a more impactful way,” Lance Clark, Ph.D., said. “We may also be able to use one for our FDN news team one day.”

According to LA Times, the Federal Aviation Administration approved drone use on film sets in September. Drones can be used to film “aerial shots,” or shots usually taken from a plane, helicopter or a person on a building.

The use of the drone will replace the use of helicopters and airplanes to shoot a scene, and are allowed to be used under certain restrictions.    Big films such as the “Harry Potter” movies and “Skyfall” had to apply for a waiver to get permission to use them on the set, according to the LA Times.

The university’s drone will be used for outdoor cover shots and other angles that are difficult for traditional dollies and cranes to acquire, Clark said. The department eventually wants to purchase a drone worth up to $3,000.

“There has been mainly a lot of interest in seeing it,” Clark said. “There is still a curious fascination with the technology and the possibilities they present.”

According to, the drone is “capable of flying at a max altitude of 199 meters, with a top recorded speed of 11.11 m/s. The mounted HD camera is capable of live streaming footage from the drone directly to a smartphone.”

Junior Matt Shouse said he is not sure how the DMA students feel about the purchase.

“It isn’t an item that I would have bought,” he said, “but I could see why this purchase could be made to market the program.”

Senior Tim Wilson, however, said the drone will be a good addition to the program.

“It opens up a lot of possibilities for things we couldn’t do before,” he said. “I think it’d be fun to experiment with it and see what new ways we can show our stories.”

The professors have not said much to the students about the drone for safety reasons, Wilson said.

The department’s goal is to put a training program into effect that will allow students to use the drone.

“It’s a real entry level,” Clark said. “We just have not put it in the [cage] yet for general use.”

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